Sunday, April 10, 2011

Time Stand Still

I'm not looking back
But I want to look around me now
(Time stand still)
See more of the people and the places that surround me now
Freeze this moment a little bit longer
Make each impression a little bit stronger
Freeze this motion a little bit longer
The innocence slips away
The innocence slips away...

Summer's going fast, nights growing colder
Children growing up, old friends growing older
Freeze this moment a little bit longer
Make each impression a little bit stronger
Experience slips away
Experience slips away...
The innocence slips away

I've been thinking a lot lately about growing older. My 36th birthday a few weeks ago hasn't helped that. I'm not in any sort of crisis or anything - I've just been feeling my body getting older lately. And I don't really care for it. I get tired more easily than I used to, I don't always have the kind of energy that I need to do the things that I want to, I'm losing my hair and I'm going gray. But I don't feel as old as I am or as I look. I'm still a 19-year old trapped in my aging body. I feel like I have a youthful spirit, but I get fewer and fewer opportunities to let it loose.

I've known for awhile now that my relatively sedentary lifestyle is responsible for all this. Ten years ago when I was still mascotting I had no trouble keeping my weight down and myself in shape. I was constantly moving, whether that was jumping around in a mascot suit or cycling or drumming or spending hours at the gym. And I was always full-out at everything I did. I would usually come back from whatever I was doing completely exhausted - and happy. But sitting at a desk all day these days has taken its toll on my energy and my body and - I fear - my spirit. I find myself choosing to sit on the sideline and watch the kids run around rather than running around with them.

My job is to blame, sure. But I blame my friends, also. As we've all gotten older, we've all (okay, most of us...) gotten so involved in our jobs and our families that we don't take the time to revel in our youth anymore. And yes, we are still young. I was reminded of that this week when in the course of videotaping an event I was jumping on and off a stage and bounding over a wall. A little old lady came up to me and said, "I sure wish I was still young enough to bounce around like you do." In that moment it hit me how young I still really am. And as long as I can still do the bounding and the bouncing and the jumping, I'm going to do it. I'm especially thankful or the ability after being sidelined a few years ago with some back problems. But I digress. I was talking about my lazy old fuddy duddy friends, wasn't I?

Ten(ish) years ago my friends and I still got together every now and then for a game of football or to play some sand volleyball. Those days seem legendary now looking back on them. But as we got further and further away from college and more and more busy, it became tougher and tougher to find enough people willing to put down their burdens for a couple of hours to take the time to play football or volleyball. It became a burden and pretty soon it stopped altogether. Not only was it a great way to let loose, have some fun and get some exercise, it also helped us stay together as a group. I don't think it's any coincidence that as we got busier and stopped playing together, that we all started to drift apart.

Over the weekend, Kayci and I were at Zilker Park in Austin. She has been wanting to climb around on the rocks in the middle of the park, so we went. For awhile she was fascinated by a fossilized shell that the found on one of the rocks and set forth trying to dig it out of the rock. While she worked, I sat back and watched the people playing on the field below. I saw people playing soccer and ultimate frisbee and sand volleyball. As I watched I was reminded of all the fun times - and how great it felt - to be outside on a beautiful day playing.

As I sat there I realized that there were all age ranges of people down there, not just teenagers or college kids. And most of them were in pretty decent shape. Then I thought of myself. My weight has hit a plateau - I can't seem to lose any more weight no matter how hard I try. But I think the key is to just move more - to just get out and play.

So I made a promise to myself. I am going to not only get out and move more, but I'm going to try to get my friends to do it , too. There's no reason why it has to be a guys' night thing or a girls' night thing, either. I can envision playing volleyball at the park with several people taking turns watching the kids while the adults play." There are some pretty decent sand volleyball courts in Brenham at Hohlt Park, and it's getting to the time of year when playing volleyball is perfect. I think the hard thing to do is to get people to get out of the mindset of "I have too much to do to play..." or that "it's too hot outside" or "it's too humid outside..." Think back to when you were a kid. Did any of those things ever stop you from playing before? Of course not. Those are excuses adults come up with to justify their actions (on inaction, as the case may be.)

And most importantly, taking time to play will teach our kids how to play. We're growing up in an age where video games and TV are the norm and where kids don't really play outside much anymore, at least not the way we used to. I firmly believe that the family that plays together, stays together. We're always so life-and-death all the time and that takes a serious toll on our marriages and relationships. Who ever said that being an adult means that you have to be all about work and paying bills? A stodgy old lonely codger, that's who.

But I'm hopeful. We've got a group of really good friends between my friends at work and Kristi's friends at MOPS that we might be able to get something started. Even if it was just one standing weekend a month, that would be something. So who's in? Who up for a couple of hours of playtime a month? Come on - it won't kill you. In fact, it may do just the opposite.

"We don't stop playing because we get older. We get older because we stop playing."

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